It's a pretty nice state of affairs I have to admit, when all four members of our household are basically on the same schedule and in agreement about what constitutes a decent daily routine. For the past couple years, we've been enjoying this pleasant situation and I am trying to cherish it while it lasts.
No longer do any of us wake up multiple times at night, whining, crying or even screaming for a meal or some attention. That sort of inconsiderate behavior has ceased! In addition, we are all able to take care of the majority of our bodily functions entirely unassisted (a little help with hair-washing for the 7-year-old being the exception) and we all go to bed and wake up within an hour or two of one another. We are blissfully in sync, but I know just how precarious this balance is.
As alluded to above, it wasn't that long ago that at least one (or two) of us not only burst into loud intervals of activity in the wee hours, but also required constant, vigilant supervision during all waking hours. Life in our now-mostly-tranquil home was more like life in a pressure cooker, with two sleep-deprived (and therefore cranky) parents battling it out for a moment of peace amid the chaos of raising two small children.
When one of them wasn't begging for a snack (mere minutes after the last meal it always seemed!) or in need of a diaper change, they were fighting over a crummy little toy from McDonald's, or itching to run out into traffic. There was an era with my son in particular when I seriously contemplated using one of those kiddy-leashes, in a desperate attempt to save him from almost-certain death under the wheels of a car.
Back then, even something as minor as running an errand required careful planning to find that brief sweet spot between naps, meals and "the witching hour." Play dates with friends often included an interlude of toddler fisticuffs and tears. Don't even get me started on the really big issues we confronted (well they seemed big at the time), like toilet training, pacifier withdrawal and new-sibling jealousy!
That was our recent past. We lived it, we survived it. In the all-too-near future I expect we will have to deal with curfew battles, borrowing-the-car battles, computer/iphone/ipad/i-everything monitoring, boy/girlfriend drama and plenty of door slamming. Hormones will be raging and schedules will fall out of sync as our currently compliant grade-school son and daughter morph into teens who want to party all night and sleep all day. I'll be wishing then, I'm sure, that my biggest problem is a baby up all night with pain from teething, or a toddler anxious to prove his mettle in the parking lot.
But for now we are between the sleep-deprived rollercoaster of the early era and the coming sturm and drang of the teen years. It's a great place to be, most of the time, and I intend to linger here for as long as I can.